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  4. Border Patrol Tactical Unit marksman fires round fatally injuring armed man assaulting migrants in the Otay Mountains

Border Patrol Tactical Unit marksman fires round fatally injuring armed man assaulting migrants in the Otay Mountains

Release Date
Thu, 03/07/2024
San Diego, CA

On March 3, 2024, U.S. Border Patrol Tactical Unit (BORTAC) Border Patrol agents were conducting operations in the Puebla Tree area of the Otay Mountains, approximately five miles east of the Otay Mesa Port of Entry. BORTAC was actively monitoring this area – where there is a paved road winding through the mountains – because of recent reports of armed robberies and assaults targeting groups of migrants crossing into the United States. A small group of BORTAC agents was concealed approximately 70 yards north of the border along a ravine near the paved road. Additional BORTAC agents, including a precision marksman, were positioned on high ground approximately 275 yards away, providing overwatch of the area.
 
Based on witness interviews conducted by investigators, a group of migrants was walking on the paved road in the early morning hours when they were approached by four individuals, at least one of whom was armed with a handgun. According to the witnesses, the armed individual demanded money from the group, racked his pistol to chamber a round, and pointed the weapon at one of the migrants. Then the migrants heard a single gunshot and observed the armed individual fall to the ground. The migrants informed investigators they did not know from where the gunshot was fired. 
 
The BORTAC agents involved in the incident reported a similar description of events. They observed the armed individual threaten the migrants, chamber a round, and point a gun at one of the migrants – at which time the BORTAC precision marksman fired one round, striking the armed individual. No other injuries were reported.
 
At approximately 6:59 a.m., BORTAC agents broadcast over service radio that shots had been fired. At approximately 7:05 a.m., a BORTAC supervisory Border Patrol agent broadcast a request for medical assistance from Border Patrol agent Emergency Medical Technicians and Emergency Medical Services via service radio. 
 
At approximately 7:16 a.m., a Border Patrol agent EMT and another Border Patrol agent (a former EMT) arrived on scene and performed a medical assessment of the armed individual. The agents located a gunshot wound and performed life saving measures and rotated roles during multiple sets of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) for approximately 45 minutes. Investigators recovered a handgun near the wounded individual.
 
At approximately 7:59 a.m., San Diego County Fire Authority EMS personnel arrived at the scene of the shooting and assumed control of providing emergency medical care to the wounded individual. They applied an intravenous line and continued CPR on the wounded individual. 

At approximately 8:14 a.m., after telephonically consulting with local EMS at the scene of the shooting, a physician at Sharp Grossmont Hospital (located in La Mesa, Calif.) pronounced the wounded individual deceased. 
 
On March 5, 2024, the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office conducted an autopsy of the deceased individual. The autopsy report is pending. The deceased individual was subsequently identified as a 32-year-old male citizen of Mexico.

Following this encounter, agents apprehended 17 migrants in the area. However, three individuals who were possibly armed absconded from the area and fled into Mexico. 
 
In accordance with the May 25, 2022, Executive Order on Advancing Effective Accountable Policing and Criminal Justice Practices to Enhance Public Trust and Public Safety, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is committed to expeditiously releasing the body worn camera footage of this incident as soon as is appropriate to do so and without impacting the ongoing law enforcement investigations.

The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and CBP’s Office of Professional Responsibility are currently investigating this incident. CBP’s National Use of Force Review Board will review this incident at the conclusion of the investigation. The Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General has been notified.

Last Modified: Mar 07, 2024